What Herman Cain Really Thinks About His Opponents
I noted yesterday that Herman Cain had criticized Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann for what he called pandering at this weekend’s Faith And Freedom Conference but, as Ujala Sehgal notes, Cain has been pretty unrestrained in talking about his other opponents as well:
Rick Santorum is a Disgrace to Reagan. Last month, Rick Santorum challenged Cain’s electoral viability. “He’s never won an election,” Santorum said, according to Politico. “And it’s not that he hasn’t tried. He’s run twice and lost.” Cain’s camp fired back with this, in hindsight, remarkably hypocritical response: “We are disappointed to see Senator Santorum violating President Ronald Reagan’s ‘Eleventh Commandment:’ ‘Thou shalt not speak ill of fellow Republicans,'” his spokeswoman said in a statement. “As conservatives, our mission should be to beat President Obama in 2012, not beat each other up in the process. We are certain that President Ronald Reagan would be proud of the man that Herman Cain is and the class act he remains.”
Mitt Romney is Pro-Establishment. On “The Week” with Christiane Amanpour yesterday, Cain said the American people are “working off of the traditional model of great name ID before you start out, whole lot of money, and you’ve held public office before.” But he argued that he was “just the reverse,” which would work in this election because “what’s happening is the American people aren’t looking at it from the traditional model standpoint.” Republican adviser Joe McKinnon added, “People are looking for non-traditional, anti-establishment candidate. And that’s not Mitt Romney.” Cain has personally juxtaposed the wealthy Romney with himself before. “I cannot compete with a Romney when it comes to money,” Cain told Politico last month. “He has at his disposal his own personal fortune [but] I have the advantage of a grassroots network.”
Sarah Palin is Not a Contender. In the same interview with Amanpour, Cain was asked if he thought Sarah Palin would enter the presidential race. While he said he was uncertain, he also added this: “But if I had to guess, I would say ‘no.'”
Donald Trump was Born with a Silver Spoon. Many members of the GOP were hesitant to say derisive comments about Trump, whether or not they believed anything he said, or whether or not he was running, on account of his brief surge of popularity in the polls. Even recently, since Trump’s been out of the race, Sarah Palin has suggested Trump as an independent. But no empty praise from Cain. He not only takes his prayer seriously, he takes his pizza seriously, being a former pizza magnate. And during an interview yesterday, when he was asked about Trump’s pizza date with Sarah Palin (where Trump infamously ate with a fork), Cain quipped, “”If you’re born with a silver spoon in your mouth, maybe you believe you’re supposed to eat pizza with a knife and a fork!” Cain also noted that, as someone born without a silver spoon, “I had to learn to eat with my hands.”
Everyone Else is Unlikely to Win. Cain got the keynote slot at the FFC conference Friday and Saturday, even though nearly every other GOP presidential hopeful spoke as well. And he had plenty of swagger and optimism for his own campaign. “We will put a conservative in the White House, and I’ve got a good feeling his name is going to be Herman Cain,” he said, getting a standing ovation, according to Politico.
It’s unusual to see a primary candidate being this out spoken about his fellow party members, especially at this early point in the race. Then again, Cain is not a typical candidate, which seems to be part of the appeal that he has for some people. While criticism of Romney is fairly standard for all of the “Tea Party” candidates in the race, his comments about Pawlenty, Bachmann, Santorum, and, most interestingly perhaps, Palin, are a signal that as far as he’s concerned the gloves are off. This could make the next several months very interesting as the candidate try to muscle their way past each other.
Besides, can anyone really say that what Cain said about his opponents is untrue?